Over 200 artists join Ukrainian violinist in music video collaboration
The melancholic sound of music by Ukrainian violinist Vera Lytovchenko echoed through metro stations, consoling people, some homeless, huddled in fear of Russian bombardment.
A new music video titled The Brave Ones features her in an online collaboration with more than 200 musical artists from various countries, including the United States, South Africa, Japan and Canada.
The video, which includes newsreel footage of rubble-shed neighborhoods and the sad but enduring faces of the Ukrainian people, raises funds for humanitarian aid for musicians in Ukraine, raising more than $20,000 so far (16 £200).
Lytovchenko said she thinks it’s important for people, especially musicians, to connect.
“Maybe I have no choice. I just have to. I have to do what I do, and this is the place for me now,” she said in a recent Zoom interview with The Associated Press.
“When I know I’m useful, I can do something good, it’s not so scary. It gives me strength. You know, I don’t consider myself a very brave person. I’m just human.
After the windows of his apartment in Kharkiv broke due to shelling, Lytovchenko began training and recording in the basement.
She also performed there.
Lytovchenko said sirens go off frequently and there are explosions.
One day in April, when the shelling was particularly heavy near her home, she thought she was going to die.
Lytovchenko rarely leaves his apartment except to feed himself and take care of the cats his neighbors had to leave behind.
And she can’t help wondering: Why?
“I don’t have the answer,” Lytovchenko said.
“How could this be possible, now, in the 21st century, in Europe? I have no words to describe my emotions,” she said.
At first, when the war started, Lytovchenko even had doubts about music and felt helpless.
Maybe what the world needed were doctors and politicians who could stop the war, she thought.
Then she saw how her music could help people, raise funds and tell the world about Ukraine.
A surge of sympathy followed on social networks.
Above all, people loved his music.
“I know it helps them. I saw their faces, I saw their tears and their smiles,” Lytovchenko said.
“Now I know that my profession is useful.”
She swears to keep playing.
And Lytovchenko refuses to leave Kharkiv.
“This is our home. We cannot leave our home. And we should stay to protect it, try to save whatever we can save. And also we should stay to show the world that we are not afraid” , she said with determination in her voice.
The online video, which includes the words “with yellow and blue”, the colors of the Ukrainian flag, features choirs in South Africa, Canada, the United States and Britain.
Lead vocals are Grammy Award-winning Judith Hill, who worked with Michael Jackson.
The producer and screenwriter who put it all together requested anonymity.
Participants were approached and given simple instructions, and were not fully aware of what the finished product might be.
The violinist’s section was recorded first.
The person behind the video, reached by email, said the project is about musicians helping each other and the hope for peace so that music can be played again as before, and not confined to bomb shelters.
Manabu Sakai, who plays taiko, a Japanese drum, in the video, said he was approached via Instagram and relied on translation apps to work out the details.
Although he played a giant instrument, he knew the key was not to play too much.
“Taiko is the kind of music that brings people’s hearts together. It’s festival music and so I performed in a way that I hoped people could feel this Japanese festival music,” said Sakai, a member of taiko group Dako-on.
“I didn’t play to show off my musical talents. I played to show my soul. I tried to play, to put my heart into it,” he said.